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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

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For the time being the Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Volunteer Ambulance Corps can no longer use its own building.

Recently, melted snow from the collapsed building adjacent to the ambulance corps headquarters caused water to flood into the volunteer group, which is located at 78-15 Jamaica Ave., forcing them to vacate the building.

“I heard cracking wood,” said Kathy Sexton Dalbey, president of the ambulance corps. “I left and called the Fire Department. The Fire Department said not to go back in.”

The group is not allowed in the building until inspection, Dalbey said.

The volunteer ambulance corp is planning to hold a rally in front the collapsed building on Sunday, March 2, hoping that city agencies can secure the site.

The deteriorating building on 78-19 Jamaica Ave., which was an abandoned furniture store, crumbled on April 12 last year, leaving a hole in the roof and damaging the adjoining ambulance corps structure.

The ambulance corps and politicians, Assemblymember Mike Miller said State Senator Joseph Addabbo,  pushed to have the owner, George Kochabe, repair the building, however he didn’t.

The ambulance corps recently filed a lawsuit against the collapsed building’s owner, George Kochabe, to the tune of $13 million in damages and lost rent.

The Woodhaven-Richmond Hill Senior Center rented space from the volunteer ambulance group, but had to move to a temporary location—American Legion Post 118—after the structure was determined unsafe by the city’s Buildings Department.

Kochabe recently paid off $3,200 in fines owed to the city Department of Buildings and hired an architect, according to the agency. However, the building still has many open violations and Kochabe owes thousands in fines.

“It is shameful that this problem has stretched on for as long as it has. It’s time for the city to resolve this once and for all,” Martin Colberg, president of the Woodhaven Resident’s Block Association said in a release. “Not only does the current situation put us all at risk—every pedestrian who passes by, every car that drives by—but it might also kill the ambulance corps, which would be a terribly unfair outcome. The city must take action now.”

 

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